A/N: Please read! I have made adjustments to chapter 3, and I hope they suit the story better. After reading through the comments many of you were so kind to leave, I have come to the conclusion that a) V was acting like a very typical male, and b) V is not a very typical male. So, I hope the amends are suitable, I only changed a section or two. It may be a bit shorter, and if you don't care to read the edits, that's okay! It doesn't change the story at all. I really do want to make this story worth reading, and the reviews do help. I take everything into consideration.
Also I promise I will see this to the end. I will NOT 'put the story on hold' until I get X-amount of reviews per chapter. I think doing such things is very silly, and if a reader has nothing to say, then they shouldn't be forced to say it for another chapter. I'm finishing up finals here, so in a few more weeks I'll have more free time to write. Hopefully more chapters will be out, I just need to consider the other fanfiction I'm also working on at the same time!
I apologize for the lengthy author's note, my goodness. I hope this chapter doesn't seem to rushed, so many people left reviews I thought I should produce something!
She was speaking to him now, at least, more often than she did before. That suited V just fine. He was a patient man, and often tried to consider her point of view. How would he feel is he was stolen away and kept underground with a bunch of books and art and music?
It was a little harder for him, he supposed, because he was surrounded by the things he loved. Evey on the other hand, would have rather been surrounded by familiar things. Her friends, for one. But there underground, she only had V. She didn't mind talking to him, for the most part. She just hardly knew what to say to him. He didn't strike her as a gossip, and she hardly thought he'd want to hear her complaints on life in general. Especially now. Complaining came naturally during this week of the month, and she often reminded herself of the situation she was in and who she was stuck with.
Terrorist. Kidnapper. Killer.
V thought it was strange that she would still be so distant. Hadn't he offered enough to her? A littler prodding might be in order. He couldn't help but feel sorry for her again, sitting there on the couch flipping through a book. He was glad that she had brought it out to read today, instead of cramping herself in her room. He saw instantly that reading wasn't exactly her cup of tea. She was a bit of a slow reader, taking double the time to read through two pages that he did. Furthermore, what she read didn't stick. He would ask her what chapter she was on, and make a comment. "That happened?" She would ask, and V wouldn't know how to respond. Was he wrong? No, no, he'd read that book countless times. He was absolutely certain. She just couldn't remember all of what she read. A common sign of boredom.
He really couldn't blame her, he supposed, she wasn't accustomed to this life and she had apparently never spent a day just reading. Curse those damn book-on-tapes!
"Tell me, Evey, how would you feel about a movie today?" She lowered her book and shrugged,
"Well, I mean I wouldn't mind watching one."
"You look like you need a break."
"Yeah." She reached for her bookmark, "Yeah, I think I do."
She hadn't really been in that part of the Gallery since he openly admitted to killing the late Lewis Prothero. There were times when she would check the clock and think, "Damn, I'm missing Gordon's show!" But even though he had offered her the telly, she couldn't quite bring herself to use it. It all still felt so wrong.
"I'm afraid I don't have too many movies, they aren't something I collect extensively." He motioned to a small shelf with a fair stack of tapes and a few DVDs, "Since you are my guest, you may choose the film." He waved an arm to the shelf and cleared the way
"Oh, well…" Evey scanned the titles, but didn't see any she recognized. Clash of the Titans? What was that? Rashomon? To Kill a Mockingbird? Wasn't that a book on her shelf? Around the World in 80 Days, Night of the Living Dead, Psycho….There were some strange titles, for sure, and absolutely none she had heard of. Did any of them have a happy ending? She really didn't like sad ones…
"Have you chosen?" V's question made her fidget and reach for a random title.
"Yes, um, here. This one." She relinquished the tape—The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad.
"Ah." V took it, "Wonderful, a movie full of adventure and suspense." He slipped the tape from its case, "Daring sea captains, princesses, treacherous magicians," with a flourish he popped it into the VCR, "Honestly, Evey, I had no idea you enjoyed such movies."
Evey didn't quite know what to say. Did she enjoy an adventure movie every once in a while? Sure. But the artwork on the case was leading her to believe she had picked something she would regret. Was that a Cyclops?
"Please, sit." V motioned to the couch, snapping her out of a daze. With a nod, she sat, and prepared herself for what she believed would be a rather terrible, cheesy film. V was satisfied with the choice. He hadn't seen the film in a while, and now was his chance to discuss it with someone! He could finally tell someone how he felt about the cast, or how the stop motion worked, or even his theories about genies in bottles. They didn't exist, of course, but perhaps with a little science one could—
"Is she…did she become a snake? What am I watching?" Evey interrupted his train of thought. Perhaps he should have been paying attention to the film instead.
"The magician put a spell on her, as you can see."
"It looks so fake."
"Well, therein lies the magic of it all. Nagas are not real, and stopmotion makes her all the more strange and unrealistic. Frightening, perhaps, though her character is supposed to be seductive and exotic." The screen flashed, and the woman reverted back to her human self with a spell from the magician.
"That was strange, she was killing herself." Evey commented
"Perhaps she was not in complete control of her enchanted half. It was a spell, after all." V turned to look at her, "But don't overthink it too much, dear Evey, the movie will explain itself in due time." He couldn't help but feel a bit excited. Finally, a conversational partner for his films! He couldn't ask for more.
The movie played out, extracting a few comments from Evey every so often. "How strange." She said, "I guess stopmotion does add a bit of, well, magic to these characters." Sometimes something would make her giggle a bit, but he never could quite understand what. "It just looked so fake, it was a bit funny I guess." She explained when he finally asked.
Sometimes he would quote along with the movie, "From a land beyond beyond, from a world past hope and fear, I bid you genie, now appear." Evey never found it annoying, rather, she used to do the same with her own movies back home. She believed there was little hope of getting to that point again with these types of movies. Sinbad was fun, she decided. It was interesting and killed some time. Even the terrorist next to her didn't seem so frightening when he was cheering on the hero of the story.
"Yes, yes, parry, side step, ah! If only I could fight a skeleton, how exciting would that be do you wager?" He might have been a little too engrossed in the movie. V never did get up and find his sword, as she expected, though he did look over to her every once in a while to see if she was as excited as he was. "Are you enjoying the movie, Evey?"
"Yes." She nodded, "I mean, yeah, it's interesting." The princess threw the genie's bottle into the lava, and with Sinbad made an escape.
"I'm glad." The movie ended shortly after, prompting V to sigh and turn the VCR off. "I do love Sinbad and his adventures." He turned to her, "I'm happy you could watch it with me."
"Happy?" She breathed
"Of course." He gave a short nod and flipped to a channel. The woman beside him made a small sound, prompting him to turn back to her, "Is something the matter?"
"Oh, no, no. It's Gordon's show." She said quietly, transfixed on the screen, "I never used to miss it."
"You never had to." The masked man stated quietly. Whether she ignored him or simply didn't bother to respond, he wasn't certain. The two watched the nightly segment. Evey found herself laughing quite a bit less than usual, but even the small bits of laughter piqued the terrorist's interest.
Soon he wasn't even paying much attention to the show. Instead he was observing her. How a smile really did suit her face. How charming her laugh sounded when it was sincere. Ah, if only she would be like that always. He didn't mind it, he supposed, if she didn't talk to him all the time. He didn't mind if she didn't know who Voltaire or Michelangelo or Aristotle were. Maybe he just enjoyed what little company she gave him, but he dared think that going back to living a solitary life would be a transition he didn't want to happen.
"Are—is something the matter?" She caught him staring off into space, "I'm sorry, you mustn't like this show very much." She whispered, "We don't have to watch if you don't—"
"Not at all, Miss Evey." He stood, replacing the remote beside him, "It is an unpleasant thing to go to bed without supper, it is a still less pleasant thing to not sup and not know where on is to sleep.' That is to say, I find myself famished, and shall cook us some super. In the meantime, you watch your show." He made to leave, but, with a snap, added, "Ah, yes, and please—use this television whenever you want. I know I have told you before, but I honestly and sincerely mean it." She thanked him as he walked away, unsure of what else to say to him. It was becoming very confusing and strange to her. Why would he ever be so kind? He was kind to her the moment he met her, but then suddenly wouldn't let her leave. It was all very odd. Something still seemed so wrong, she just couldn't put a finger on it…
"Thank you." She murmured when the bowl of soup was placed in front of her. Soup was always a favorite during the winter, and she was feeling the cold especially now. The Gallery wasn't the warmest place she had ever lived in. She swirled the leeks and potatoes around with her spoon and contemplated how difficult it would be to acquire some wool socks.
"Is everything to your liking?" V interrupted her thoughts, as he often did.
"I was just wondering, I guess." She stopped playing with the spoon, "Would it be too much trouble for some warmer clothing?" The masked man's silence prompted her to speak more, to amend her forward question, "That is, well, my clothing is fine, I just am not used to living in a place with stone floors, you see…" He didn't answer right away, merely stroked his fake beard as she dipped her head to her bowl, "Sorry, it was a silly question."
"Now don't be hasty. No question is a silly one." The mask tipped to the side, "Make a list of what it is you desire, I shall find it for you." The smile she gave in response was enough for him. It was a curious thing, he found, to really see her smile. It was keeping her smiling that was bound to prove difficult. Just how would he go about doing it?
And what of the dinner discussion for tonight? Generally what he could extract from her was an answer to his nightly question, "Is the meal to your liking?" and sometimes, "What are you reading lately?" She often followed it up with prolonged silence or a shrug, which was mildly irritating, but patience was key. Patience always paid off in the end, V knew.
"Oh, I was looking through the guide." Evey spoke, giving V quite the start, "Monty Python and the Holy Grail is on tomorrow. May I watch it?"
"Of course." The mask man nodded, "I'm not sure if I've seen it. I recall the name, but I remember the word circus in the title…"
"No, no." She shook her head
"Ah, then I have not."
"You should watch it with me." The statement was out before she had time to think it. Though she couldn't see it, behind the smiling visage of Guy Fawkes, the man was smiling too,
"I'd love to."
Evey enjoyed comedies. She enjoyed the fact that she could just laugh and let her worries float away. They did say laughter was the best medicine, did they not? Though it felt awkward at first, being the only one to laugh during a film she really found amusing, she came to accept that perhaps the terrorist just didn't have a sense of humor. But, little by little, the low, guttural chuckle escaped the mask's lips. Then a little louder. He seemed different when he laughed. Maybe not as frightening. The voice seemed to finally match up to the mask. Happy.
"I wasn't sure about it at first, ah, but I'm glad I watched this." V quipped when the credits rolled, "I suppose I never found many comedies to my liking."
"This movie often cheers me up." The two sat before the credits, saying nothing until the commercials began playing. Evey was left to her own devices, wondering how someone like V could possibly be the terrorist she thought he was. What terrorist would act like this? "V?" She spoke, suddenly more curious than her fear of him would allow
"Mm?" He turned and gave her his full attention. She swallowed hard, searching for the words,
"Are you still planning to blow up Parliament?"
"Yes." The sincerity and ease of his answer threw her off,
"I'm finding it hard to believe that you will. I was there when you blew up the Old Bailey. I was there when you attacked the BTN." The mask nodded, urging her to continue, "But I just can't understand how it would help. How will blowing up a building help?"
V thought for a moment, the silence only broken by the television that was still playing. He flicked it off and answered, "It entirely depends on whom you think I should be helping. By blowing up Parliament, am I helping anything progress? Of course. I've said it once, and you've heard it before. The government is nothing but oppressive. Though peaceful protest has often worked in favor of the people, I cannot stand idly by. Fewer will be harmed this way. And in the end, the people will have a taste of my mistress. Anarchy."
"She is both good and terrible. The country needs a change, and she is the answer. You need to understand, Evey, 'You can't go around building a better world for people. Only people can build a better world for people. Otherwise it's just a cage.' I'll provide the means of making a better world. They have to do the rest." Evey couldn't find the words to say how she felt. This man before her was crazy! How could anarchy solve anything?
"Anarchy. You want to take freedom to a dangerous level, then?"
"How free is freedom? 'Liberty is liberty, not equality or fairness or justice or human happiness or a quiet conscience.' There is nothing dangerous about being free. It's what one does with freedom than can be dangerous."
She didn't like his answers. Deep down in there, it seemed, he was still only out for himself. His own agenda. A vendetta. Were people unhappy with the government? Of course. Were there protests? All the time. This seemed extreme. Such an extreme opposition had to come from somewhere. Maybe he really was just a crazy person with way too much time on his hands.
"What will you do, then?" She asked, not daring to look at the mask, "After you blow up Parliament?" The mask dipped low and she heard a soft sigh,
"That, you see, I am not quite sure of." Terrorism, it seemed, was all he knew. She wondered if he would just remain down here, among his trinkets and odds and ends, while London burned to the ground. Safe, knowing no one would find him. Happy, knowing he accomplished his goal. The thought made her sick, and even a little jealous. Her life was just as uncertain, if not more. What would she do among all of that change? She didn't want any part of this. Not now, not ever.
"I'm sorry to leave, but I find I have a prior engagement I must attend to." The terrorist left her there on the couch, wondering where he could possibly be going. It was a while before she got up—even after hearing the door open and shut, and all of the locks click into place.
"He doesn't want to make a cage for the people," She thought sullenly, "Yet here I am, trapped in the Shadow Gallery."
 Victor Hugo, Hunchback of Notre Dame
 Terry Pratchett, Witches Abroad
 Isaiah Berlin